Scribblings from the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway

Space, the final frontier

Ive started doing some decluttering in my den, not much you understand, but its a start. I think the CDs may get boxed up and put in the loft, as I cant remember the last time I actually played one.

I also have a pile of DV Video Cassettes, recorded on various video cameras over the years, along with my most recent DV Camera. Ive offered the camera to Gaz, my son, as hes shortly to become a proud father, and thats probably what video cameras are for, more than anything.

But of course I need to download the video from the tapes before I bid farewell to them; and this is where the space thing comes in.

Ive just ordered a new external hard drive to download the videos, its a MyBook by Western Digital, its costing less than £100 and it holds a terabyte of data. Thats a million megabytes, enough (according to WD) for 75 hours of DV Video or a million minutes of music, which is just less than two years non stop music. Or a pile of floppy discs 2km high.

Those stunning capacities, caused me to cast my mind back to my first PC, an IBM XT which had an impressive 10mb hard drive. My first new PC, back in about 1993 was a Gateway2000 DX2 66, with a massive 450Mb  hard drive. It was bleeding edge for its day, the most powerful 486 processor in those heady pre-pentium days. In fact, as I recall the first peniums were actually slower than the DX2 66 processor. I later (94 or 95) upgraded it with my first 1 gigabyte hard drive which cost £150.

If we go even further back, the first mainframe I worked on (an IBM370) used winchester hard drives with 70mb capacity.  

I now have a memory stick in my pocket with 8Gb capacity which cost less that £20, and a 1Gb card in my phone which is smaller than the nail on my little finger!

Of course once the drive arrives I will have to transfer the content over, which will have to happen real time and then maybe, just maybe, Ill get round to editing the content and burning back out to DVD.

But thats another story, for another time.

2 Responses to Space, the final frontier

  • My best example of how times have moved on is from way back in 1977. I was working for the local community college, writing test-grading software on a DEC 10 system. If one arrived at the lab early enough, the CRTs were available, otherwise you were stuck coding on a teletype. Over the winter holiday break we were all excited because a memory upgrade would be installed. It was a whopping 256k (thats right, about 7.5% of a floppy disc). More impressive was the 300-lb, 7 foot tall rack the memory came in. Complete with cooling fans even. I think automatic coffeemakers have more memory these days…


  • I dont go back with computers quite that far, but many of the guys I work with do and the stories are amazing, especially the punch-cards!

    Another big change which you mention is the cost of the space. My “old-timer” boss tells me about the “old days” when big companies would have rooms filled with disk packs made by WANG and each 5MB drive was several hundred thousand dollars each! Now, as you say, a memory stick, or even the coffee maker has more storage!

    We do live in interesting times!